Preventing lettuce from bolting

howelbama(7 NJ)June 17, 2014

So, we are looking at 90+ degrees and high humidity over the next three days here.

I set up misters on my lettuce beds and have them timed to come on three times for 25 minutes a shot during the peak heat hours of the day, in the hopes of keeping them cool(er).

They are very densely planted, so the soil is well shaded from the foliage.

Do you think this will help prevent them from bolting?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You can always hope but the odds aren't in your favor IME. Better cooling effect is achieved by erecting a heavy shade shelter 3-4 feet over the bed that will allow the soil to cool somewhat. Even then you need a good 20 degrees of cooling and that can be almost impossible to get.

But if you can make it work please be sure to let us know.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:02PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

I will report back with my results.

I may throw a shade over them tonight as well, the heat is supposed to start fading by Friday.

I'll probably harvest a bunch tonight as well, just in case...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Water on the leaves during the heat of the day can cause scorch if not shaded, so be careful. It might be safer to flood the soil under the leaves if that is practical. It's always tricky growing lettuce during the summer as you already know.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alan Chadwick

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:00PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

IME, the water on the leaves during the day causing scorch/burn is an old wives tale...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:28PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

If possible, i'd run the misters every peak hour for just a few minutes. This way it's cooling without risking stem rot from overwatering.
Also, if you can bang some stakes in to keep some shade cloth (or a sheet, etc) over them, but not on them, it'll help quite a bit.
Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 9:22AM
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I've always found that cold water on the root zone, not the leaves, is most effective. Also that close planting encourages bolting, and giving each plant head space tends to keep it - as well as giving more direct access to the root zone.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 9:42AM
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Shade if you can...and yes, very hot the next few days.
I plant very thick, especially when the hot weather is coming...though this is a bit early for us...NY/NJ....
My salad beds are shaded 50%. I still may have trouble with the spring mix but i already have a hot summer mix i've been cutting...
I have salad all summer by planting a heat tolerant blend and shade...don't have the water pressure for misting but would if i could. (gravity spring fed)

We will never loose the water/burn/magnifier myth...
I've had a few mid day showers this spring with the sun harm

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 11:55AM
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